Being in what is pretty much known as the second generation of gaming, I was never really fortunate enough to experience a high volume of classic games such as Centipede and Stunt Cycle. When I saw that this collection was being brought to the Xbox One, I could not resist the opportunity to give it a try.
The game is a large collection of 50 different Atari classics, this is broken up into two different groups and screens. The first selection screen is 9 different Atari classics which were known as large Arcade games, the other 41 are styled as cartridges that would have been played on an Atari console. This selection has been brought back as if you had stepped back in time to experience the birth of the journey to the games we have at our fingertips today. The luxury being that each game is easy to transition between, using the typical three lives and over concept.
Each of the games obviously contain a different experience, so gameplay does vary across the available inventory. The Xbox control has been configured to support each game easily which is useful as there are far more available combinations to use compared to the original controllers that would have been available in this period. The experience becomes a little shaky from this point on unfortunately as the instructions to how most of the games are played is absent. There is a lack of information on the games goals and how to achieve them, which if you are a dedicated player with the fortune to be returning to these classics, it should not present a problem. For any young gaming enthusiast wishing to take a step back in time however, this can be seen as quite deflating, causing some possible confusion even to the points of draining any remaining enthusiasm.
Some games do present a clear goal, such as Centipede. Clearly demonstrating a similar layout and style to Space Invaders, a large amount of players should find this quite easy to grasp. When I started to play Stunt Cycle however, I was lost with no explanation on what I was aiming to do, which by the time I came to a resolution I chose to quit the game and move on. Another thing I found difficult to grasp was the inconsistency of the control sensitivity. Some games would be quite over sensitive in response to the player, causing a lack of enjoyment and slight frustration. Others seemed to lack response which may have only seemed the case due to how overly responsive others were found to be.
The game graphics has been kept to the originals which I actually found to be quite inspiring, as taking into consideration the lack of graphical power that would have been available at the time, was able to demonstrate just how well the designers were able to work with what they had. I quite enjoyed the visibility of the Arcade machines that were used and styled after the starting 9 games, another smart way to bring a blast from the past.
The original game sound effects and music had also been kept through this collection, providing a greater immersion for any player, considerably those that were experiencing a great deal of nostalgia from all of the wonderfully kept originality. Sound effects were perfect in responsiveness to the player input, creating seamless recognition to movement and other mechanics.
The replayability factor for this collection does split straight down the middle, as earlier stated. If you are a gamer returning to this collection for nostalgic purposes, it would easily keep you coming back for more as this flashback has been very well executed. The other side to this is as there are lack of instructions and guidance, players may only come round to this game a couple of times before it falls into the cracks and gets pushed aside. For any player that can get past this, having the determination to find get an understanding for each game available, the games paces will bring you back again and again, fighting to beat your own score or even great fun for a party or group, as players can take it in turns to compete against each other with such a fast turnover.
I feel that the Atari Flashback Collection: Volume One brings back the games that inspired a large population of people to dive head first into what can be possible in the gaming world. Bringing forth gaming as we know it to this day, offering an insight into what our parents grew up with, demonstrating the skill that was needed for some of these original concepts. I did get left with a little disappointment in regards to some games needed that small explanation to get the best out of it and that this collection appeals mainly to players that were able to dive into the world of gaming earlier than the rest of us.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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